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The main reason I’ve chosen this topic is because as you will also read in the introduction, making accessories is something I really like doing; It is the first time I can accomplish a school task that has been given to me, doing something that I enjoy. It is just perfect! It will not only help me with my school life, but it could also be the beginnings of a promising future.
The aim of my project, parallel to the fact of making accessories and selling them is to see if determination and skills are enough to start a business of my own. I do not believe it would be difficult to design and sell the new collection. What I have to see is how I will finance the whole process. But I am really enthusiastic about it and I will really try hard to put all my ideas into action.
Since we had to do a project to pass the middle age program I tried to do a project that nobody else has ever done and something I really liked to do, so the best thing I could think was this topic I’ve chosen, I love doing accessories, it is very original, and I get a profit from it.
Every day I work a little bit on this project since October of 2002 when they told us about it. I’ve been designing, creating, promoting, and selling my creations. But in order to do it right, I take down notes of every single thing I do as regards this job. How much I sell, I buy, I design, etc.
I have divided my project into subtitles to organize the information in the way it will be easier for the reader to understand the whole process.
The areas of interaction related to my project is:
Approaches to learning, I had to do methodological work, my sense of effort, being able to hand in a project that hasn’t got any mistake, order of the project, communication and expression of experiences and searching for information and summarizing it.
Homo Faber, I started a project of a small business and crated a project that is relatively new, inventing designs, and putting into practice purposes of Homo Faber.
Environment, accessories are really involved with fashion and I take the designs from my surroundings, what is fashionable, styles, etc.
Social Education, to show people that teenagers can start their own little business and to encourage young people to develop what the really like since they are little because maybe when they grow up they can still do what they did when they were young and to develop their ideas and imagination.
In my opinion Homo Faber is the predominant area of interaction because I am starting a business with its pros and cons, also I am working with my imagination and time in order to accomplish my objective.
When they told me that I had to write a personal project in Level 4, I wanted to do something different, something that nobody else had ever done before, and it had to be personal, something that I really like doing and what I really like is to design accessories
When I was only eleven (11) years old, my mother brought home some big beads and some elastic. I started playing with them and I made my first bracelet. I realized it was entertaining and I preferred spending my time making accessories instead of watching TV. My grandmother gave me some more money and I bought my first working material, since then I have spent days and nights making accessories.
My parents complained because they said that because I devoted all my time and energy to this, I did not study. But now I have my opportunity to do both things. Do what I really like doing that is beaded accessories, and also comply it with my schoolwork. This is really great!
The idea is not only to design my own accessories but also to see if an adolescent can handle and manage a small company. This of course meant a lot of work, because I have to design the accessory, then promote it and sell it etc.
In October 2002 Miss Pat O’Malley told us that we had to chose a tutor for our projects, she said tutors could only have 4 or 5 students, I choose Miss Claudia Zacarian but she already had her 5 students, but after talking to Pat O’Malley they allowed me to be with her. We started working and giving a little bit of shape to the project, I plan the whole essay with her. At March 2003 for my surprise, I got the news that Miss Claudia was not working at school any longer.
I felt disappointed because of all the work we have been doing we came to trust ourselves and got to know us better. I had to chose someone else, but it was quite difficult because most of the teaches I Level 5 were new and I wanted to choose a tutor who liked what I was doing and that could help me with my project because she is interested and not because is a school task, so I asked Gabriela Flaiban the level 5 coordinator to be my new tutor, I asked her because I knew she liked accessories. I kept on working with her and she showed me several projects to organize myself better and what was that I had to include in the different sections and to give me a guide on what to do as regards my written work, also she proposed many things (I will explain later) which were really useful to me.
It was very difficult for me to organize my work. I told my tutor and she advised me to go slowly.
I wanted to sell the accessories I had to think about the colors, shapes, sizes, etc. My tutor told me to start doing surveys and end up doing the design that was the most voted in order of not loosing time or money. But I had to make a difference between people of 12- 20, 25-40, and more than 40 years old. The first thing I had to do was to design the accessories, I drew on a paper different designs and I showed them to different people with different ages and evaluate their opinion and if they will succeed or not. The results are attached at the annexes pages….
I went shopping, visited different places and read piles of magazines, and keep doing it actually in order of having buyable. I could get to the conclusion that on the first part of my project, spring- summer collection I stepped against a romantic, and hippie style with lots of colors. But on the other side the autumn- fall collection is full of yellow, red, orange and brown. And both of them had bright colors such as pink turquoise, blue and green in all their varieties. By doing surveys and consulting people I can get to do things that people can get identified with, and as a result they will buy it, this is a tactic that many enterprises use in order to evaluate how much will the selling be so as to produce an amount of products that is adequate to the amount of demand it has.
The first thing I did after meeting with Gaby Flaiban (tutor) was the survey. The survey was organized in the following way. It was repeated several times with different accessories.
There were 10 (ten) accessories and I showed them to different people of different ages, they had to put them in order from worst to best. In that way I could see which were the three accessories people different ages liked the most.
After choosing the final designs, to start businesses, I must have a budget; even tough it is a small one. Five years ago I asked my mother and Grandmother for money, they gave me $100 (mom $75 and grand mother $25). So I went to buy all my working material, and started working. Time made me perfection my style, and neatness but, no matter how good the beaded crafts were I was scared that I will never return my credit, it is very common that when you start a business you can be scared or believe that it won’t be good. So I had to work really hard.
Now, five years after, I also asked for a credit, this time a little bit bigger than the first inversion, I had my savings, I used $100, and asked my mother for another $100, my grandmother didn’t keep behind and bought me beads, and wool.
After I do an accessory I immediately cost it, the things I take into account are: the cost of materials, hand labor, and how many exemplars I do of it (obviously if I do 10 of them and if there is a big offer of them I will price it less in order to sell it).
Cost is very important because if I sell the final product in less money that the one I invested, I’ll be loosing money, but I must have an idea of how much I’ve spend on doing it because the price must be reasonable.
Hand labor is also important in this branch there are included several things, time I have spent on doing it, work I had to do and promotion of the product.
Offer and Demand are really important. If I do something really exclusive, I will cost more that if I do a dragonfly that are seen everywhere. And if there are lots of demand of something the price will be higher (this is the ABC, of economy)
Promoting is as important as doing it, because if I do and don’t sell is the same as if didn’t do anything. As regards the estrategical view where to sell is a very big deal, especially nowadays. Propaganda is extremely important. I could say vital for this job. I usually give a certain amount of accessories to people that are close to me, like friends or relatives so whenever they go to parties or places where there are lots of people they are able to promote my collection, and that creates very good results because sometimes I get a phone call asking me to do a very important request of accessories or maybe people ask who was the one that did the accessory and when they get to see me they are still wishing to buy it, like the one they seen or maybe another they liked best.
I also created a web page; you can find it at www. . com. In this web page which I specially created I will show every design I made and the final selling price, so if people like any accessory they can contact me by sending me an e- mail or calling me and buy any piece that has caught their attention. Web pages are a very interesting way of attracting people because as Internet is very used and calls a lot the attention, mainly because of the animation and colors. A very important fact is that being on the net creates a professional image, and that is what I want the customer to think about me because if people think I am professional they will believe that the quality of the accessories are better and that I am a person to trust on because a good image is really important.
As an example we have Kosiuko the quality of clothes is not that good but as they do very good graphics, the clothes is original and they promote themselves very good by using very famous people as models such as Britney or Pampita they succeed on the industry. Nevertheless the most important way of selling is to get in contact with a boutique or a fair because I can leave my material and they sell it for me, in a way they make me save a step. As I said before promoting is really important. I tell everybody I do beaded crafts, and they ask me to show them, but it is not enough, shops are really important they make you save time and steps. Having good contacts is important too, the fact of having a friend working in a magazine or being a friend of somebody who is famous, can help me to sell better. This is the part I hate the most and I really don’t like it because I have problems telling the price, and persuade people to buy.
I ask them if there’s a possibility of leaving them some of my accessories at their store and if they allow me to do so, they charge them a little bit, for them to be able to get profit out of it (usually 20% -25% of the price I ask for). To be able to keep continuity with the boutiques I am always renovating my stuff for them to keep calling and asking me to do different designs, keep doing that accessory that was very successful or maybe to invent new things such as napkin holders, handbags, sandals or belts, because continuity is very important if not you loose a contact and loosing contacts is a pity. I am actually giving my things to Cool Site, to Captiva and to different fairs in San Isidro.
In the economical, fashionable, and practical view there are lots of advantages, but also disadvantages. To start with the disadvantages, the price of the material in Argentina has raised a lot and now I can do less with the same amount of money, materials raised 350% comparing to the past yea, with all the default problem, so it is really difficult to buy the same peaces of material I bought before with the same price or less charged as possible. Besides they are brought from, Brazil, Indonesia, china, and Thailand. A very important issue is that economical problems here in Argentina are serious; people won’t spend money buying accessories if they suffer from hunger. But in order to sell I must sell very cheap knowing the cost of the material for not to loose any money, because nowadays the hand labor cannot be well paid, as it was before.
The advantages are that beads are very fashionable, so they are sold a lot, they stick to the fashion and they are really trendy, for every age since 5 to 99 but for each age there are different designs and that is something I like, I do different models following a trend and if they are for old or young people, and I can do with the same beads accessories dedicated to any age or style because it depends the person who is wearing them to see if that is an accessory is for her/him or not.
Another advantages is that the crisis has pushed and prohibited people on buying new clothes and also the commodity of cotton has decreased 50% comparing to last year so every piece of clothes is really expensive, specially cotton clothes, that’s why people use old attires but they modernize them by using a beaded handbag or a big pin that calls more the attention than the attire itself so the attire doesn’t look old anymore and the whole outfit is brand new because of a little change, because beaded accessories are very cheap comparing them with the price of clothes. Another advantage is as I sell a lot I have my savings and I can use it for buying things for me like clothes or going on a trip, etc. This is a hobby that gives me money and that is really important for me. I like it and also can get a profit from it.
When I started on October I asked the girls of my class, shop owners and my family what they would like me to do, it was an informal survey, because I haven’t wrote it down as a survey actually. But nevertheless I put it into practice. They asked for peace signs, lots of colors, many stars, and many earrings and pins. I kept everything I sold on a diary (annex page…) I worked September, October, November, December, and January. February was my holiday month so I didn’t work at all, also march, April, May, June and July. On that summer- spring collection I earned $520 with a mean of $100 a month and my expectations for the autumn-fall collection is better yet. Because I added one more store to give my accessories and promoted myself even better.
* “Bead lings” BY Julie Collins and Candice Elton, Klutz editorial
* Revista ” mostacillas” 4th edition Evia ediciones